Join the fight tomorrow February 27th.
Spend an evening like a rock star and help raise awareness for this dreaded disease. Tickets still available.

http://www.keepmemoryalive.org/ways_to_contribute/attend_an_event/upcoming_events/2014/02/27/kerry-simon-says-fight-msa

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http://sixteenfifty.com/KERRY-SIMON-EBLAST/

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XJDMznF5QUs

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With the NAHB International Builders Show coming to Las Vegas next week, I wanted to reach out and share an extraordinary locale for those in search of remarkable dining and service while in town.

Simon Restaurant and Lounge @ Palms Place

“If you and/or your group are in need of last minute private dining or group accommodations for corporate functions or private events, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner, Simon Restaurant and Lounge located on the 6th floor of the Palms Place Tower offers an inviting venue with poolside dining and reception space and we would love for you to join us in a wonderful dining experience.

Kerry Simon is an American celebrity Chef and restaurateur based in Las Vegas.  Dubbed the “Rock n Roll” Chef by Rolling Stone Magazine, he is known for “L’American” cuisine because he expands the limits and notions of simple comfort food via his classic training.”

For large groups accommodations
Please contact:

Julie Bushur
Sales Manager

Simon Restaurant and Lounge @ Palms Place Hotel and Spa
4381 West Flamingo Road | Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
D. 702-944-3252
http://www.palms.com/casual-dining/simon

They go above and beyond to meet and exceed your groups needs and expectations

Thank you
Eddie Leverett Jr

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HAPPY NEW YEAR…
We will open the book. It’s pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called OPPORTUNITY, and it’s first chapter is New Years Day!

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Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show. The secret lies in an inner glow. It’s lighting a fire inside the heart. Good will and joy a vital part. It’s higher thought and a greater plan. It’s glorious dream in the soul of man. May this Christmas be bright and cheerful and may the New Year begin on a prosperous note! As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to take a quick moment to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season and hope you enjoy your definition of success in the coming year.

Have a great Holiday everyone

The process of selecting a contractor to do your home remodeling project can be daunting.

First, comes locating the contractor, then there’s the interview process, contacting their references, verifying insurances and licenses and this is just to name a few of the important beginning steps. Once those steps are accomplished you must move forward with the process of requesting estimates or “bids.” Construction bids are unique animals. Let’s say for a moment you are considering buying a new car, well with that decision you can see what the finished product looks like, you can even take it for a ride to see if it feels comfortable and/or operates to perfection. The complete opposite however, is true when it comes to the start of a construction project. Ultimately you have no idea what the final result will be; you cannot take it for a “test run.” You must leave your trust to an experienced professional, and this is where the bid comes into play. You can only make an educated or informed decision based on what you have been presented in the estimate and your willingness to research the history and integrity of the contracting company. In this first phase of the process you should be 100% excited and satisfied that you have chosen wisely based on facts and figures combined. One cannot out weigh the other. This is where most homeowners often fall victim to an unpleasant experience. Yes, the process can seem a bit overwhelming but it really does not have to be as long as you surround yourself with a trustworthy, knowledgeable licensed professional.

I constantly hear two arguments from the general public about residential construction and remodeling.

First and foremost, I hear about the abundance of terrible tradesmen and general contractors, and how there is “no one building like they used to.” I tend to agree on the extensive number of inexperienced and under qualified trades, but the point the property owners are missing is that they themselves are the catalyst to which have helped spawn this breed of craftsmen. Every time a homeowner accepts a low bid from a “trunk-slammer,” and does not verify references, or protect themselves with highly appropriate and necessary contracts, and then accepts sub-par craftsmanship has just allowed that faulty contractor to continue the cycle and worse yet this opens the door for 2 or 3 more just like him. This brings me to the second argument I hear most often, (which by the way is the basis for this discussion) is that a contractor is “ripping them off.” From my sentiments above, you should now realize that these two stances are strongly connected, how does the old saying go? “You get what you pay for!” No one has ever ripped you off, you unfortunately have allowed someone to take advantage of you, and have allowed yourself to get taken advantage of, WHY? It is the simple fact of not doing your homework prior to contracting. Only you have allowed someone to take advantage of you, and because you didnt do your homework prior to contracting, you have also allowed that person to stay afloat and target someone else. Please remember to keep in mind that if any bid is more than 5 to 15% from the median high or low then an error of some sort has been made, the error could be an honest mistake, and if you want a contractor in the mix, you should call them and without giving the numbers of the others(shopping bids is not ok) you should ask them to revisit their estimate and compare apples to apples. All estimates should have detailed inclusions and exclusions, and in most cases allowances for unselected finishes. I also believe it is the best practice to add 5% to10% contingency to an estimate for larger scale remodels. If there is a consistent theme in home renovations, it is to expect the unexpected and it is nice in this case to have the contingency to fall back on. Contingency is not encouraged to be used for anything else during the renovations (such as upgrades or additions to original scope of work).
A contingency is for your own peace of mind.

Buyer (of cheap remodeling services) beware

So here we are. There are fewer of us who actually qualify as experienced, legitimate remodeling contractors. We have smaller hardworking crews and we are the ones scrambling to respond to you, the anxious homeowner.

Yes, you can opt to choose the illegitimate companies who make themselves available to you quickly and inexpensively. But you do so at your own risk and sadly at the risk of others, (as in your family members) here’s why:

That “fast and cheap” contractor may be staffed by people who used to work in new construction. Remodeling and new construction are entirely different fields. New construction has a logical progression and is performed without people living in the home. Remodeling requires additional skills: We must understand the existing structure and the impact that even the most minor alterations may have on it. We need to carefully deconstruct before blending in the new work so it that fits the home’s existing style and does not cause problems to the structure or systems. And, of course, we often do this intricate work while you are living in the home. Therefore, special precautions for your health and safety are taken in to serious consideration. This scenario takes extra effort, planning, time and care but a true licensed professional contractor will gladly go to the extreme to see the satisfaction and gratitude from the homes owners.

A few business facts:

Much of the work we’re doing today involves replacing shoddy construction done during the building boom, when homeowners would hire anyone who could fog a mirror. That work is falling apart. The work performed by cheap contractors today will hold up just as badly in the long run. No truly professional remodeler — one that was around 10 years ago and will still be around 10 years from now — can match the kinds of lowball proposals the cheap contractors are offering. Contractors that pay for highly skilled labor and quality materials, along with all the required taxes, insurances (for your protection), licenses, permits and educational expenses, logically must charge more.

Quality renovations take time and cost money, and this statement is truer than ever during this time of economic recovery. For everyones benefit, do your homework and hire reputable, licensed, insured contractor with a history of quality job performance. Have a balanced thought process when comparing cost with quality. Be patient with the process. Select your contractor first based on expertise, then price. And keep in mind…The good contractors will generally be a bit busy and be hard to schedule, patience is a virtue.

An analogy:
Would you select the physician or attorney who is cheapest and quickest? Probably not, in this analogy you would often times research and plan a serious course of action. So why would your take a short cut or lower your standards when it comes to the most precious asset you own, your home. To get lasting quality and comfort, you must also choose a contractor based on knowledge, effectiveness, skills and reputation.

Image below is the CSLB’s new summer newlsletter showing recent license revocations and suspensions for the period. 5 pages and well over 500 contractors disciplined for fraud, failures, other illegal activity even including elder abuse.

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http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/Newsletters/ContractorNewsletter2013Summer.pdf

Storage is an issue we often discuss with people who are planning to remodel or update their kitchens. More of us are discovering the joy of cooking and there always seems to be new gadgets or food trends for home cooks that may influence how they plan storage.

If you’re a Food Network fan, you’ve probably admired the organized kitchens on the sets of their top shows and some of the gizmos used by the chefs. From electric juicers and espresso makers to multiple sheet pans and pots for every purpose imaginable, they seem to have it all.

With inspiration from these chefs and from our many customers who love to cook, we thought we’d share some creative ideas for pantry and kitchen storage:

1. Custom Open Shelving

Food Network star Ina Garten loves the utility of open shelves. When her kitchen was remodeled in 2009, the pantry and cooking area featured open shelves where contents were accessible. Her motto for kitchen design is to “keep it simple”. All of the items displayed on her shelves are white and chrome.

2. Glass Door Cabinets

Rachael Ray has a tiny kitchen in her New York apartment but open shelving and glass-door cupboards make it manageable. Glass-door cabinets can be lit to display contents and since the contents can be viewed, there is an incentive to keep items organized. The kitchen below is one we designed and illustrates how glassware, wine and collectibles are stored for function and decor.

3. Backs of Cabinet Doors

Hooks and narrow shelves can be installed on the back of a cabinet door to provide handy storage for items such as hand towels, pot scrubbers, dish soap and spices.

4. Niches

Built-in kitchen niches are a great place to store spices, oils and vinegars but can also be used for glassware, collectibles and cookbooks.

5. Counters, Corners and Window Sills

In chef Lidia Bastianich’s kitchen the counters are an important place for storing cooking items and small appliances. A toaster is tucked into a corner and colorful crocks hold utensils. A cutting board rests on the counter, while her blender is at hand.

6. Above Cabinets

You can leave the space above a cabinet open for storage by omitting soffits from your design to store collectibles or infrequently used items that you may want to display.

7. Hooks Beneath Cupboards

Hooks can provide a helpful solution for items you frequently use in the kitchen and need to have at-hand. Think about storing cups on hooks near a coffee a maker, potholders, utensils and other small items such as measuring cups and spoons or keys.

8. Island Storage

There are many ways to optimize storage on a kitchen island, customized and determined by the way you cook in your kitchen and the amount of space in the room. A kitchen island can be comprised of drawers and base cabinets or open storage. It can also be a place for small appliances, such as a microwave oven, or for a wine cooler or food storage.

9. Basket “Drawers”

If you decide to use open shelving in your kitchen consider adding baskets. You can adjust the shelves to accommodate baskets that you can pull out to store items like root vegetables, linens or dry goods.

10. Hanging Storage

If you’ve watched Paula Deen’s show you may have noticed that she has a rack of cooper pots hanging on the wall over her stove in her kitchen. She has the pots there both for aesthetics and for occasional use. Designer Mick DeGuilio created House Beautiful’s 2012 Kitchen of the Year and fashioned a pantry cupboard with hanging storage for pots with drawers below for the lids.

11. Plate Racks

Plate racks can be integrated with cabinets to provide convenient storage for dishes that you use every day.

12. Pullout Shelves

One of the most convenient options in today’s kitchens is pullout shelving. Gone are the days when you have to get on your hands and knees to reach into the back of a cabinet to find a pot, or move a half dozen items in a cupboard to locate the one you want.

13. Toe-Kick Storage Drawers

Toe-kick drawers are great for storing those sheet pans Food Network chefs recommend for almost everything roasted or baked and cutting boards, too.

14. Solutions for Hard to Store Items

Mario Batali stores his kitchen string in ‘chef’s head’ string holders that his wife buys on EBay. Tin or metal cookie cutters are another hard to store item. If stored in jars, they can lose their shape and they tend to cause drawers to jam if stored there. An on-the-counter paper towel holder is a great solution. You can stack them or even use a couple to keep them organized for holiday use. When it comes to kitchen storage, don’t be afraid to think ‘outside of the box’ or talk with a designer about your needs. Seek ideas that simplify work in the kitchen.

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LOWEST BID

Should you always hire the lowest bidder?

THAT DEPENDS!!!

Is the bid responsible?
Are there hidden costly errors?

What is the lowest responsible bidder? The lowest responsible bidder is the contractor that submits the lowest bid that still includes all of the materials, labor, design and
quality features desired and required as well as other needed expenses along with a reasonable earned profit for the contractor without cutting any corners or making any mistakes or omissions.

What is the difference between the lowest bidder and the lowest responsible bidder and which one do we highly recommend? The low bidder is the best choice if the bid is responsible, accurate, thorough and carefully reviewed and explained to you so that you know it includes all of your requirements requested, added, changed and discussed.Only then do we recommend choosing the lowest bidder. If the low bid does not include all of these requirements, we recommend you move to a responsible bid as the recommended best choice for your project.

Does E.L.G.C. ( Eddie Leverett General Contractor) always strive to be the lowest responsible bidder? Yes, we try very hard to be the lowest bidder with the key emphasis on responsible. There will always be someone willing to come along and undercut an accurate, thorough, appropriate, professional estimate with an irresponsible bid that is full of errors, omissions, shortcuts and incompetent guesswork along with shoddy inferior materials.

What can result if an irresponsible bidder is chosen for your project? Focusing too much on finding a bid that is low causes a great deal of regret including headaches, frustration, additional expense fixing mistakes and shortcuts and even dangerous conditions because the lowest bid is often to low because of incompetence or dishonesty by a shoddy contractor.

There are many irresponsible contractors that do not know what their costs are, are uninsured, are desperate for work, work for unskilled labor wages and do not pay their bills or their income taxes and often do not apply for or get a permit (if required) which is illegal. The homeowner can become responsible for a variety of unpaid bills and suppliers can and often do place a mechanics lein agains your home. Costly legal problems can also result if things go wrong
and they often do when an irresponsible bid is dignified with acceptance.

How can you avoid choosing an irresponsible bid when they are so commonplace? Be sure to choose carefully which contractors you ask to bid on your project. Then be sure your chosen contractors work hard to respond to your concerns, qusestions and ideas with reasonable thoughts, suggestions, explanations and client friendly policies in support of customer
satisfaction and all American everyday values and integrity.

What does timing and workload have to do with sometimes large differences in the amounts of several contractor estimates? Timing is everything in the construction and remodeling business.If a contractor is extremely busy and will find it extremely difficult to find time in their schedule to take on any more work, they will tend to bid a very high price thinking it will be worth the added
effort and sacrifice of hustling and bustling to get it done with often monumental time contraints.

On the other hand, if a contractor is badly in need of work because business is very slow, they will tend to bid much lower to get their schedule filled more quickly.

There are also failing and newer less established contractors who are often or always desperate for work. Many always bid low but seldom satisfy customers due to a lack of ability or integrity.These types should generally be avoided for several reasons.

Where do professional contractor rates, prices, quotes, costs come from? We survey market rates and base our prices on the local marketplace rates, the cost of doing business including insurance and other overhead.We then compare this against national averages in published contractor, remodeling and new construction pricing guides to be certain we are on the mark. No one wants
to be taken advantage of including the customer or the contractor. This is the best practice in the home improvent, remodeling and new construction marketplace.

We hope we can do business honorably with all who are interested. Thank you for reading these thoughts on responsible bidding.

We look forward to serving you.

Eddie Leverett Jr
Eddie Leverett General Contractor